ICS Fellow Lectures



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The term "civics" was coined soon after the Civil War as a group of America's most powerful northern politicians, jurists, and philanthropists, feared the effects of emancipation and black voting. Part of their plan was to blunt the possibility that African Americans might become a powerful voting block by delegitimizing the common practice of voting along ethnic or racial lines. Towards this end, they established the first educational foundation dedicated to "education for citizenship" throughout the nation. While the principles they promoted successfully became embedded in the structure of American schooling, the racist arguments used in launching them have been forgotten and buried. This project exhumes these ideas which reveal the inherent biases that continue to underlie our current debates about teaching civics.

Streaming Media

Publication Date

Spring 4-4-2024

Civics and the Civil War: The Racist Origins of the Citizenship Education Industry